Wants and Needs: A pronunciation activity to practice word stress

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A while back a student asked me about the rule for word stress in two-syllable words that can function both as nouns and verbs. I explained that for words like record and progress we place the stress on the first syllable when it’s a noun and on the second syllable when it’s a verb.

However, it’s not enough to hear that rule once. How easy will it be for that student to retain the information about word stress and apply it in his own speech? For advanced students, I’d like to offer an activity called Wants and Needs. See the  Wants and Needs_handout here. It’s not terribly complicated. Students are simply matching verb-noun pairs that have been contextualized on role cards. The challenge is to use the correct stress patterns in every exchange with their classmates in the search for what they want or need (as stated on a role card).


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Harvey says:

    Very nice activity as it complemented nicely the chapter we were doing on stress within words.

    A few NBs from my experience today:

    – it seemed that the students weren’t really truly engaging in conversation in talking about their situations, but simply looking for the counterparts of their target word. So instead of telling their partner that they want to improve their math skills with a tutor, they just asked, “Do you have proGRESSED?”

    – Instead of giving them the two strips of paper (want / need v.s. have), I had them commit the first set to memory to prevent the mere exchanging of papers. I then gave them the second strip (Have) and allowed them to keep those, while going around the room telling one another the wants they had previously remembered.

    Nevertheless, a very nifty activity!

    1. So glad someone tested this out recently. I appreciate the tweaking and the warning of potential pitfalls!
      Thank you, Harvey.


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